Letter of the Week: A roadside blight

Published: Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 11:39 p.m.

Thanks to Ron Cunningham for his column last Sunday about roadside trash. Our roadsides are more cluttered with debris than ever, and I was wondering if anyone noticed.

The trash is often so bad that I am reminded of prior travels to impoverished countries where used toilet paper flutters in the city streets.

Call me weird, I often pick up trash on the roadways and streets of Gainesville and Alachua County. The most commonly tossed items are cans and bottles, but fast-food packaging, complete with napkins, cups and straws are also abundant.

Plastic bags, so-called "urban tumbleweed" are frequently ensnared in bushes and grass. Some people deposit whole bags full of garbage beside the road, somehow confused that they are at the local dump.

Sometimes, neatly packaged plastic bags of dog poop, like a gift, are left by dog owners.

How do we get people to stop throwing trash on the roadways and to deposit their refuse in trash or recycle bins?

1) A bottle bill to monetarily reward the return of bottles and cans would help. If a state bill does not succeed, why not consider a local initiative to encourage the return of bottles, cans and other recyclables?

2) More access to recycle bins is necessary. Recycle bins should accompany more trash cans near businesses, schools and hospitals. The ARC recycling program, in Westside Park, is a start, but many more recycling bins are needed in Alachua County and Gainesville.

3) Enforced fines for obvious littering might discourage the practice.

4) More aggressive cleanup campaigns are needed. Trash pickup should be considered a valuable community service event. Individuals seeking employment could be sponsored by others who would pay for trash-cleaning efforts.

Ultimately, the decision to litter is an individual one.

Please think before a can, bottle, or Happy Meal is thrown from your car.

Stash your trash in an appropriate receptacle and help us to clean up Alachua County.

Pat Abbitt,


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